The start of the MLB season is rapidly approaching, and several issues are still unresolved regarding the current CBA. The two parties had a largely fruitless meeting on Thursday this past week. Many people are concerned that MLB spring training will not begin in mid-February as currently planned now.
Simply said, things aren't looking good right now.
Some believe that MLB's second work stoppage in 27 years may be similar to the first. Evan Drellich, The Athletic's MLB CBA expert, who has been tracking the situation since 2019, doesn't think things are moving in that direction just yet.
“I think it would be pretty stunning if we had anything close to ’94-’95 where you miss the World Series in ’94 and it bleeds over into the next year. I don’t think it’s impossible that you miss regulars season games in 2022.”
The players’ strike in 1994 resulted in the World Series not being played for the first time since 1904.
Drellich believes that MLB losing a few spring training games isn't a catastrophe. However, missing out on the regular season is a much more serious issue.
“Remember, there’s so much more money [than ’94-’95), even adjusted for inflation, now in the sport. There’s so much more on the line on a nightly basis for every game that you miss. The pandemic wasn’t good for anybody…they’re both reeling from that.”
Both MLB and the MLBPA have a significant financial interest in ensuring that the season starts on time, as Drellich points out. This also isn’t just “millionaires versus billionaires”.
One of the biggest issues in MLB labor negotiations is increasing compensation for younger players who are not able to enter free agency. Many of those on that list make six-figure salaries. But it ain't millions.
The MLB and MLBPA have a number of contentious subjects to discuss. Spring training may be delayed, but neither side wants to miss a significant amount of regular season games.